Comparison of Leveling Schemes

Frostorm

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Hello all! So I've been going back and forth redoing the way actors learn skills and progress as they gain levels. I have a few leveling schemes in mind and would love to hear some feedback so I can better decide which route to take.

In my original leveling system, players would gain 2 different resources when they level up, JP & SP. Every level-up, an actor will gain 1JP and 3SP, for a total of 50JP and 150SP by lv50 (max). JP is used for increasing a job rank, each of which has 5 ranks in total. Each rank costs more JP than the last. So rank 1 Cryomancy would require 1JP, rank 2 would require 2JP, and so on until rank 5, which would require 5JP. This means it costs 15JP to max out a Job. This means an actor can max out 3 Jobs of their choosing, or split those points however they like. Each rank of a Job features 3 skills that can be learned, a Bonus Action (buffs, debuffs, utility, etc...), a Main Action (direct attacks, heals, etc...), and a Passive skill (self-explanatory). Each of these skills cost 1SP. Any leftover SP can be spent in Stat Allocation (there will be plenty of SP leftover by design).
This is what the UI looks like atm:
1643227797602.png
1643227856674.png

So some of the issues I have with the aforementioned setup is that each level up won't always have the same "power increase" as the level before. This is because at certain levels the player might not have enough JP to increase a Job rank (due to the increasing cost per rank). Instead, I'd prefer each level up to be equally significant.

This brings me to an alternative leveling setup that can hopefully address that issue. 1st, I'd remove the Job ranks altogether. Instead, I'd implement point requirements for each row in a skill tree, akin to talent trees in World of Warcraft (Classic -> WotLK). So skills in the 1st row don't have any requirements, skills in the 2nd row would require 5pts spent in the skill tree, and so on until the final row. I'd also have to make the skill trees more WoW-like in general, for example, by having multiple ranks for certain nodes on the trees. The player would still gain 1JP per level, but it's now spent on the nodes within a tree instead of the job/skill tree's rank (which will no longer be a thing). SP would then be used purely for Stat Allocation, which now has an increasing cost per rank instead of costing 1SP per upgrade. I haven't determined how or how much SP should be gained on level-up in this system though. Anyway, thoughts?
 

kvngreeley

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So either way sounds cool to me. I know that doesn't help.

And I really like the screenshots! This looks like the kind of game I would be very interested in.

Please let me know when it is ready!

As an aside, I also like games where skills can increase from usage. The more you use it, the more it grows outside of level ups.

I also don't think that all level ups need to be equal. That is definitely not true historically in a lot of games. Certainly not D&D either. Personally, I think that some levels can be more significant than others.

But that is a game design mechanic that is entirely up to you as the developer.

Good luck and I really want to see this when it get done!
 

Spaske

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Agree with @kvngreeley , except i think the first one (with the jobs) sounds kinda cooler and opens up alot more possible builds... but both are ok if implemented right.
Skills increasing from usage is also nice but when done right and thats hard to acomplish, like one skill beeing overly hard or obnoxiously long to to level up and on the other hand some skills too easy to level up... if my memory serves me well, they did a pretty decent job in oblivion with this, could be wrong tho, its over 15 years since i played it after all...
I just know, in kingdom hearts 3 it was a PAIN to use all those skills to get 5 stars, at one point it was just doing the same skill over and over again till at one point i just did not care anymore because it was too much... i think you had to do one skill 3000 times to get it to 5 stars and get the boni from it, like dmg boost ect....
 

Trihan

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I think either approach would work fine, though I lean slightly more towards the tree approach myself.
 

Frostorm

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Thanks for the feedback guys!

One other thing I noticed about the alternative leveling scheme is that the skill trees themselves would have to be bigger than they are now. They'd have to be 7 rows x 4 columns instead of the current 6 rows x 3 columns (+1 node at the top representing Job rank, which the alternate system won't have). Now, this increase in tree size and, consequentially, the number of nodes isn't going to be an issue UI-wise. However, the increased node count, combined with certain nodes having more than 1 rank, means that each point spent will probably have a less significant impact compared to the original leveling scheme. I guess I could counter this by granting more than 1JP per level-up, but that was kind of what I was trying to avoid in the 1st place, lol.

A possible solution would be to have actors learn skills at certain levels naturally/automatically like in a traditional RPG. The nodes in the skill trees would then augment said skills or improve some aspect of that actor (e.g. +CNT%), but still leaving a few nodes as actual skills to be learned. This would turn the skill tree into something more akin to a talent tree instead. I'm not sure if this is the route I wanna go though...
 

kvngreeley

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I'm not sure if this is the route I wanna go though...
So, I will display my inexperience here and ask how much work is it to program enough to play test each option to get a good feel for how it would work and if game balance would be impacted more by one option over the other.

If it isn't a huge lift, then you might want to consider a trial to see which one you think plays better.

But again, that might not be realistic. Just a thought.
 

LordOfPotatos

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I think having both job points and skill points is a little overcomplicated.
you can reach the same customization levels by removing job points entirely (or just unlocking all jobs by default) and keeping only skill trees, that way the player has less numbers to keep track of.

for example, if you make the first skill of every tree just unlocking that tree you can have the same effect as unlocking jobs with JP but everything works on a single currency instead of 2.

same with job ranks, just put a mandatory job rank skill in the skill tree or make ranking up the unlock tree skill mandatory for advanced skills.

the less different types of points you have the better.
 

Frostorm

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I think having both job points and skill points is a little overcomplicated.
you can reach the same customization levels by removing job points entirely (or just unlocking all jobs by default) and keeping only skill trees, that way the player has less numbers to keep track of.
Yea, my latest iteration consolidates JP/SP into a single resource, but I haven't decided on what to call it yet. If sticking w/ my earlier naming convention, then I'm basically removing JP. But I do like the term JP more than SP, so I may just rename SP -> JP, lol. Less is more in most cases, and that definitely applies here too. To replace the job ranks, I'm simply adding point spend requirements for each row in the skill trees beyond the 1st row.

Now, the only thing I need to decide on is if the Stat Allocation system and the Skill Trees' skill-learn system should still share the same resource/currency (i.e. SP in the old iteration). This was before I changed my Stat Allocation system to have an increasing point cost per stat boost instead of costing 1 SP throughout. This is to encourage a more balanced stat distribution. In the old system, Stat Allocation was basically an afterthought. It was basically just there so any leftover SP not spent in the skill trees can be utilized in some fashion. But with the revised system, I don't plan on players having any leftover SP. So I'll have to figure out how to handle the resource costs for the Stat Allocation system...
 

LordOfPotatos

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Now, the only thing I need to decide on is if the Stat Allocation system and the Skill Trees' skill-learn system should still share the same resource/currency (i.e. SP in the old iteration). This was before I changed my Stat Allocation system to have an increasing point cost per stat boost instead of costing 1 SP throughout. This is to encourage a more balanced stat distribution. In the old system, Stat Allocation was basically an afterthought. It was basically just there so any leftover SP not spent in the skill trees can be utilized in some fashion. But with the revised system, I don't plan on players having any leftover SP. So I'll have to figure out how to handle the resource costs for the Stat Allocation system...
you could use skills based on boosting stats (like each point on this skill gives +X on a stat and such) either spread around the various trees or in a single stat based tree. just use the same system for all character growth.

also you can split the stat increases between normal level up stats and stat boosting skills instead of ramping up the stat boost costs.

as for the point's name "Ability Points" is probably best since your skill trees sound less like "jobs" or classes and more like areas of expertise. like "pyromancy" instead of "pyromancer"
and some games use SP as MP but every game use AP for abilities so it's slightly more intuitive.
 

Frostorm

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Oh yea! "AP" is much more fitting, thanks! Brb, gonna go draw a new icon for AP, lol.:kaophew:
I just never considered AP cuz I always interpreted that acronym as "Attack Power".:kaoswt:

Edit: Ok, which color looks better?
1643355567822.png
 
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Those screenshots look lovely! If you don't mind me asking, how did you create those menus? Is this some clever use of plugins, or did you script it all yourself? I'm currently working on improving the uniqueness of my UI, so I'm interested in seeing how people manage to wrangle RPG maker menus into something that looks unique.

As for the skill system, I agree with consolidating the JP/SP into one thing and moving to a skill tree system if you want each level-up to have the same impact. The way I see it, the whole point of having the cost increase with each tier would be to make some levels more important than others, since you would only unlock a new tier every few levels. Sounds like you've already figured all that out though, so best of luck!
 

Frostorm

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Those screenshots look lovely! If you don't mind me asking, how did you create those menus? Is this some clever use of plugins, or did you script it all yourself? I'm currently working on improving the uniqueness of my UI, so I'm interested in seeing how people manage to wrangle RPG maker menus into something that looks unique.
The UI in the screenshots is @SomeFire's Skill Tree plugin.
 

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